Concurrent decompression and resection versus decompression with delayed resection of acutely ruptured brain arteriovenous malformations

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  • 1 Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 2 Department Neurological Surgery, University of Miami, Florida;
  • | 3 Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington;
  • | 4 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; and
  • | 5 Stroke & Applied Neurosciences Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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OBJECTIVE

Brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) most commonly present with rupture and intraparenchymal hemorrhage. In rare cases, the hemorrhage is large enough to cause clinical herniation or intractable intracranial hypertension. Patients in these cases require emergent surgical decompression as a life-saving measure. The surgeon must decide whether to perform concurrent or delayed resection of the bAVM. Theoretical benefits to concurrent resection include a favorable operative corridor created by the hematoma, avoiding a second surgery, and more rapid recovery and rehabilitation. The objective of this study was to compare the clinical and surgical outcomes of patients who had undergone concurrent emergent decompression and bAVM resection with those of patients who had undergone delayed bAVM resection.

METHODS

The authors conducted a 15-year retrospective review of consecutive patients who had undergone microsurgical resection of a ruptured bAVM at their institution. Patients presenting in clinical herniation or with intractable intracranial hypertension were included and grouped according to the timing of bAVM resection: concurrent with decompression (hyperacute group) or separate resection surgery after decompression (delayed group). Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded. Groups were compared in terms of the primary outcomes of hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) lengths of stay (LOSs). Secondary outcomes included complete obliteration (CO), Glasgow Coma Scale score, and modified Rankin Scale score at discharge and at the most recent follow-up.

RESULTS

A total of 35/269 reviewed patients met study inclusion criteria; 18 underwent concurrent decompression and resection (hyperacute group) and 17 patients underwent emergent decompression only with later resection of the bAVM (delayed group). Hyperacute and delayed groups differed only in the proportion that underwent preresection endovascular embolization (16.7% vs 76.5%, respectively; p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between the hyperacute and delayed groups in hospital LOS (26.1 vs 33.2 days, respectively; p = 0.93) or ICU LOS (10.6 vs 16.1 days, respectively; p = 0.69). Rates of CO were also comparable (78% vs 88%, respectively; p > 0.99). Medical complications were similar in the two groups (33% hyperacute vs 41% delayed, p > 0.99). Short-term clinical outcomes were better for the delayed group based on mRS score at discharge (4.2 vs 3.2, p < 0.05); however, long-term outcomes were similar between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Ruptured bAVM rarely presents in clinical herniation requiring surgical decompression and hematoma evacuation. Concurrent surgical decompression and resection of a ruptured bAVM can be performed on low-grade lesions without compromising LOS or long-term functional outcome; however, the surgeon may encounter a more challenging surgical environment.

ABBREVIATIONS

AVICH = Arteriovenous Malformation–Related Intracerebral Hemorrhage; bAVM = brain arteriovenous malformation; CO = complete obliteration; DSA = digital subtraction angiography; GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale; ICU = intensive care unit; IPH = intraparenchymal hemorrhage; LOS = length of stay; mRS = modified Rankin Scale; RAGS = Ruptured Arteriovenous Malformation Grading Scale; SM = Spetzler-Martin.

Images from Minchev et al. (pp 479–488).

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